DBT’s Smart Agriculture Conclave underway at Delhi

The conclave being held on 30th-31st August, 2017 by the Department of Biotechnology aims to underpin the challenges faced by farmers and discuss the possible cloud based solutions accessible to the remotest farmer


New Delhi: The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, is holding a ‘Smart Agriculture Conclave’ on 30th to 31st August, 2017. The conclave aims to underpin the challenges faced by farmers and discuss the possible cloud based solutions accessible to the remotest farmer to see as to: How existing farm- related data can be accessed, collated, curated and translated into information useful for the farmer, Identification of technological gaps in data acquisition and transfer from farm to cloud and vice versa.

The expected outcome of the Conclave is to provide a roadmap for setting up a cloud-service “FarmerZone” where the right kind of agriculture data is collated leading to maximum impact, vis-a-vis farmer needs and make this data useful for the farmer (data related to weather, disease and pest surveillance and control, soil, market etc).

DBT is collaborating with different stake holders including the international, national and industry to set up a “FarmerZone”. It would be a multi-purpose window for solutions and will be available for farmers anywhere in the world. Solutions will provided at the farm, similar to that done by e-commerce companies at the doorstep. The farmer can access the service directly or through an intermediate structure such as local co-operatives. The FarmerZone will include a MarketZone where farmers can directly sell their produce which can be picked up by directly from the farm.

The key international partners at the event include the Research Councils, United Kingdom and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). From the industry’s side the Infosys, Microsoft Research and Jain Irrigations are partnering the event. Aprat from that the NGOs such as GODAN, Ekgaon, FARMER are also supporting it. The participants expected at the event are agriculture experts from UK, USA and India.

As per the government’s top biotech agency, the event has been held keeping in line with the vision of the Prime Minister of India for the need for effective decision making in agriculture that integrates science, technology, innovation and the farm ecosystem by asking for an ‘Evergreen Revolution’.

As per the DBT, this Conclave is much in sync with the Prime Minister’s repeated emphasis on the need is to modernize all aspects of agriculture to this purpose by bringing to bear quality analysis of the ecosystem, well-thought decisions and an efficient use of cutting-edge science technology to the very complex Indian farm environment. 

The conclave will focus on small and marginal land-hold farmers who constitute a major component of Indian agriculture and challenges faced by them in context of soil, diseases, weather, impact of climate change and market supply chain.

It aims to create an interface for the usage of advanced cyber-physical systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence, to collect- and analyse- data and create a service for the farmer, which will cater to the farmer’s needs and requirements (disease and pest surveillance, climate change: biotic and abiotic stress etc and advice thereof); Data availability for algorithm development is the key and how best to use AI, cloud computing and drone/phone mapping etc for creating a viable, usable FarmerZone are all expected to be discussed at the two-day Conclave.

The Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan will attend the concluding session to review the outcomes of the Conclave.